"Very well, Miss Granger," Dumbledore finally said, his hand curling around the wand that lay on the desk in front of him. The briefest flash, and the gold chain dangled from his long fingers. "I trust you do not need to be reminded of its usage... or the necessity of hiding your possession of it?"
"Certainly not, sir," Hermione replied, rising from her chair to take the Time-Turner from Dumbledore's hand. If Umbridge knew...
She slipped the chain around her check, felt the familiar weight fall against her breastbone. She raised the pendant, slipping it inside her robes.
"Lemon Sherbert?" The headmaster pushed forward a bowl, a small smile on his face.
As always, Hermione marveled at Dumbledore's calm in a storm. "No thank you, sir."
Hermione yanked her schoolbag higher on her shoulder, her mind working furiously. She hadn't been sure if Dumbledore would even let her borrow the device again, and it seemed prudent to determine that before she wasted time planning in detail how best to use it...
She certainly hadn't expected Dumbledore to hand it over without so much as a single question.
Maybe he thought she wanted more time to study for her O.W.L.'s? No, Dumbledore wouldn't give one student that kind of advantage, would he? He knew she wanted it for something else.
Although, she reflected, as she recalled how Ron and Harry had blown off working on Snape's assigned essay that morning... she was probably the only member of the student body who would use extra hours of the day to study.
"Merlin's Beard," drawled a sarcastic voice behind her. "Is Perfect Prefect Granger late for class?"
"I have a note from the Headmaster, Malfoy," she sighed, willing her anger not to rise. "Don't even think about taking points off."
Malfoy merely laughed. "Enjoy your last few days under Bumbledork's protection, Mudblood."
Breathe. Breathe. "Malfoy, your insults are getting less imaginative."
She saw movement in his wand pocket.
"Protego," she muttered, and his Bat-Bogey Hex bounced harmlessly off of her.
Malfoy's eyes narrowed, and she didn't need Legilimency - how'd she get her wand out so fast?
"Not everything Muggle-made is to be sneered at, Malfoy," she grinned. "Sometime you might like to investigate the 'magical' properties of duct tape."
She'd gotten the idea from Hagrid, after an examination of that umbrella he was always carrying around. With her wand taped to the inside of her robe sleeve, her reaction time even topped Harry's.
Malfoy lunged. "Expelli-"
"Protego," she muttered again, and then, for good measure...
"Riddikulus," she added... and a group of Ravenclaw third-years who'd gathered to watch the scene burst into hysterical giggles.
"Oh, Malfoy," she purred, taking in his sudden change of hair and clothing, "You didn't think it only worked on Boggarts, did you?"
Malfoy -- now clothed and wigged in a perfect replica of Marilyn Monroe -- gaped at her, too paralyzed by fury to move, his chest heaving.
Well, that took care of that little problem. Hermione adjusted her bag again, heading down the hall, whistling "Diamonds Are A Girls' Best Friend" insultingly.
God, Harry and Ron really were rubbing off on her...
"Oh, Mudblood?" Malfoy called in tones that were supposed to be commanding, but came out sultry and breathy. Hermione nearly burst into hysterical giggles when she realized the 'Monroe Effect' had extended to his voice.
"It's Miss Mudblood to you, but yes?" Hermione said airily, turning to face him.
And everything went black.
From outside Dumbledore's office, there came another thumping crash and bellow of rage.
"That will be Weasley," McGonagall sighed.
"Really," Snape hissed, glancing at the door. "I rather thought it was Potter with the anger management problem."
Umbridge's eyes flicked greedily from face to face.
"Explain it again, Draco," Dumbledore said with quiet authority.
"Granger... I... she cursed me, made me look like a... a girl..."
If McGonagall's lips twitched, no one chose to comment on it.
"I was just going to get her back! It was a simple charm!"
"A 'simple charm' does not cause students to completely disappear, Mr. Malfoy," Flitwick squeaked. "In fact, there are no 'simple charms' that do..."
"What did you cast, Draco?" Dumbledore continued.
"I cast an... an enlargement charm..." Malfoy muttered.
"Her teeth again, Mr. Malfoy?"
"No, I... I cast it on..."
"He cast it straight at her chest," one of the Ravenclaw witnesses interrupted.
"Thank you, Miss Nixon, there is no need to interrupt..."
"You cast it at her... her chest, Malfoy?" Snape demanded.
Umbridge suddenly giggled, a sound like fingernails against a blackboard.
"You do realize, Malfoy," Snape said in cold fury, "That your... your filthy hormonal prankings could very well have acted on Granger's heart, not her breasts?"
"I wasn't aware Granger had a heart," Draco snapped back... then lost some of his nerve under Dumbledore's gaze. "Anyway, it didn't quite hit her, it sort of... bounced..."
Another small voice from the back of the room. "And he screwed the spell up."
"That will be all for now, Miss Nixon...!"
Dumbledore turned towards the slight Ravenclaw. "Bethany, what do you mean?"
"He pronounced it wrong, 'cause his voice was all... funny. It's 'Engorgio', and that's not quite what he said. This blue stuff came out of his wand, and it hit Granger right between the..." Nixon stopped, blushing. "Right in the middle of her chest."
McGonagall's mouth opened -- then her eyes flew to Umbridge, and it snapped shut again.
Dumbledore suddenly looked grave.